Study Efficiently Using the Pomodoro Technique

If you find yourself struggling to finish assignments before the deadline or getting to exams wishing you had found the time to study more you are not alone. Many students struggle with managing time for their studies, and in today’s interconnected busy world it is no wonder.

Thousands of students have been managing their study time with the Pomodoro Technique, which was created by Francesco Cirillo in 1999. The fact that his method has been widely used for over 20 years shows how effective it is.

The method is based on studying in timed intervals. In fact Cirillo named it after the timer he used which happened to be shaped like a tomato (pomodoro in Italian). Cirillo found that breaking large tasks up into smaller manageable timed units  (called “pomodoros”) is the most effective way to study.

How it Works

The Pomodoro Technique works like this:

  1. Decide what you want to accomplish and estimate how long you will study for. Then break your work into pomodoros.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and start studying. (There are many pomodoro apps available for your phone, or follow along with someones study session on YouTube).
  3. Minimize your distractions during the pomodoro interval. If a thought pops into your head write it down. If a friend calls let them know you will call them back later.. 
  4. After 25 minutes take a short 5-10 minute break. Grab a coffee, go for a walk, call back your friend, or do something else relaxing.
  5. Repeat. After 4 pomodoros take a longer break for 20-30 minutes.

If you finish a task or topic area before the pomodoro ends, use the remaining time to review what you have learned or to prepare study material for the next pomodoro.

Why It Works

We learn best when we are fully engaged in a task, but this can be mentally exhausting. With this intensity breaks are important. During the longer breaks our brains are assimilating the new information and resting for the next round. With practice your pomodoros will become more successful, and you will improve your attention span and concentration.

Virtual Study Companions

Why study alone when you can study alongside successful students on YouTube.  “Study with me” is a YouTube phenomenon in which you simply study alongside advanced studiers, many of them use the pomodoro technique. You focus on your work as they focus on theirs and take breaks when they take theirs.